Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
This review is from a “mystery sample” a friend gave me. I don’t know when he opened the bottle or when he bottled the sample.
- Nose (undiluted): lemon, honey, brine, floral, a hint of peat?, something funky (vegetal) I can’t quite identify (dry leaves maybe?), apple skins
- Palate (undiluted): hot, spiky arrival, honey, a bit of a mineral note, pepper, ripe banana
- Finish: long and lingering, peppery, a slight chalkiness, a vegetal note lingers and a lovely green apple note appears at the tail end.
With water, there’s a slightly herbal note that appears on the nose, almost like menthol. There’s also more brine, like sea water washing over a rocky shore (I swear I’m not trying to be pretentious). With a bit of resting time, the nose takes on a meaty aroma, like salted ham (prosciutto?). Water doesn't tame the arrival on the palate at all. The salty meaty notes remain, but the ripe banana takes over quickly and is more pronounced. The finish isn’t as chalky, and the green apple note is more evident, appearing sooner and lasting longer. I prefer this with a bit of water (1/2 teaspoon). I left the half the sample and did a few things around the house. When I returned to it about 30 minutes later, it had mellowed considerably and the green apple on the finish was far more evident. Shame on me for not waiting long enough at first.
My thought process when I was trying to solve the mystery
I’m thinking this is an ex-bourbon Cask because it has ripe banana notes lacks the raisins/walnuts/cinnamon notes I associate with ex-Sherry casks. I’d guess Caol Ila Unpeated Cask Strength, either the 18 year old or maybe the 15 year old. The lingering green apple on the finish, as well as the light peat (even though it’s “unpeated”) are what point me to that guess. But I could be totally wrong.
Final thoughts after confirming the whisky’s identity
- I have yet to meet a Caol Ila I didn’t enjoy. OBs, IBs, peated, unpeated. I like it all.
- The unpeated Caol Ila still retains a hint of peat. Maybe it’s like campfire smell; it’s impossible to get rid of...
- I should find a bottle of this stuff.